Ministry is never done.
You never really “clock out,” because ministry never ends.
The work of the church is never going to be over.
These are phrases all of us in ministry have heard. And all of us have found them to be true. A mentor once told me to enjoy cutting my grass because it would be the only area of my life where I would see something finished. I get the illustration, but the grass did grow back rather quickly.
Ministry is never finished because we are never finished. Those the Lord has declared to be perfect are continually being made holy. We are a perpetual work in progress. It is a glorious paradox. Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, we have been declared perfect. We are not finished, but we are being finished.
Because the people we serve in our ministries are not finished either, ministry is never finished. Ministry can be very frustrating for finishers, for those of us who like to end our day with our task list complete and our inbox at zero. There is always something else to do, some other need to meet, some other person to connect with.
Here is another paradox: Ministry is never finished, but we can finish our ministries well. When Joshua was completing his ministry, there was still land unconquered (Josh. 13:1). He finished well but the work was not finished. When the apostle Paul declared that he “had finished the race,” there were still people to reach. In the midst of Paul’s faithfulness, ministry was still not finished.
It is good for us that ministry is never finished because it reminds us that we are not God. Only he is the One who makes things grow. It is good for us that ministry is never finished because it reminds us to trust him, to depend on him.
Here is what the Lord has taught me lately: He is using the burden and the struggle of unfinished ministry to finish me. God uses unfinished ministry to continue our finishing.
Church leader: Ministry is not finished today and God is finishing you through it.
Eric Geiger is the senior pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California, and the former vice president of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. This article originally appeared on EricGeiger.com.